Drawing Table Tuesday

I took this Tuesday night but completely forgot until now. Or I didn't get around to it until now. Things have been weird that last few days. Staying up late to finish work doesn't work go well if the work is very cerebral.

Without much sleep you remember things out of order. I keep thinking that it's later in the week than it really is and so it feels like I'm further behind than I really am.


Update, Faux Cover, and Rule of Two

Update:
I'm behind. on schedule.

I'm getting better at this, but I'm still not quite as fast as I should be yet. I think part of the problem is sometimes I feel I can't justify shirking responsibilities to work on this; I know that if push comes to shove, and something needs to be done, I can take off a few days to do it. Those add up pretty quickly.

Lately (the last few months), I've gotten pretty good about saying no to things and people when they ask for things that are in conflict.

This is important, and this has to come first is the mantra I've had to pretty much recite every few days to someone or myself. But it's worked. These last few months I feel like I've gotten the most work done. I've tried a few different things and I think the most important thing I've found is staggering the work and setting weekly goals.

I'm mostly behind because I wasn't very accurate when estimating the time it would take me. I've gotten pretty good at gauging how much work I can actually do now, and it's not too bad, all things considered. I can pretty comfortably pencil 4 pages a week (maybe 4 and a half, but definitely 4), but only if I'm penciling. Factor in the rest of the process and that goes down to two a week. (I don't remember for sure, but I think my earlier guess for having it done was based on five a week, and that's not possible unless I don't mind it looking like crap) And this was sort of where I'd get into problems; I wasn't staggering it. I was trying to do it in bursts and I'd get bogged down.

My new goal isn't so much a deadline, but a weekly goal. Every week I have to pencil two, ink two, and tone two. They don't have to be the same two pages, but it has to be two, two, and two.

I get behind all the time, but I've been pretty good about working later in the day or night if I have to, so I've been pretty good about catching up too. If I get behind one week, I make up the following week.

So I'm resetting the timer. The original schedule was never going to work (but I am faster and better now). There's not one day, there are many. I'm either caught up or catching up.

Almost as an afterthought, something else that's sort of working against me (at least for now, might hopefully pay off in the end though), is I'm trying to be better at this; I'm trying to make every page better than the last. Dynamicism is a term I've appropriated; nothing's static or boring looking unless it's intended or needed for the story. I know it's an outdated internet joke now, but I don't care, I dearly love the source material. The ultimate goal in the end, is for the drawing ability to inarguably register over 9000. (All things considered, from where I started, I feel like I'm close to this point, but, admittedly, it's hard to objectively gauge yourself- I may be at this point)

If every page is a little better than the last, by the end of this, it might.

Blurred Lines

Those blue lines looked too perfect (perfect, and perfectly repetitious), so I blurred them a little to soften them. It's my experience that that trick should work. If it doesn't, I can take it back. I won't know if it worked or not until it's printed. (I'll probably enlarge it and print it poster size, that's a pretty good indicator of if it's fine or needs to be reworked)

And this cover isn't the real cover- and it won't be used for anything. I planned to print the book for fun, in sections, along the way as I finished it. But, no one (I can afford for fun) can print 600ppi, or the equivalent, so I'd either have to set up an extra file for each page just for that, that's 300dppi, reworking the tones, or not and there'd be a seriously wicked moiré pattern over the entire page- to the point of the tones being virtually meaningless. So, I decided against printing it in sections, and I pretty much ended up doing this cover for fun.

And the EC reference is sort of a moot point now. I was planning on 6 covers, and they were all going to jump through decades and cover styles. So now that I'm not doing them, it's sort of lost.
Another trick, I gave a slight blur to the blacks. It's something that shouldn't be evident on inspection, but should help it as a whole. I've been working on coloring like this for a while, but interior pages, not covers. Pages were printed very cheaply on the cheapest paper, but covers were printed expensively (relatively) on higher quality, glossy paper.

I also used the colors pretty well. I'm making rules up as I go along, and one of the first I made was that I'm only using these colors. For everything. So if I want a color that I don't have, I have to just make it look like it's there. There are a lot of greens that look like other colors, and there's a lot of gray on his robe that looks red, but it's really gray.

So, I'm sort of studying trying out color theory every now and then, when I have to.

Subtle Artifacts

I'm pretty steadfast when it comes to type in print digital effects in print. What I mean is, absolutely perfect, computer generated lines in print, especially large text, word balloons- text and balloon, and border lines. They bug me when I see them, especially when the contrast against the art is too much. I'd rather see a genuine, imperfect line instead of an artificially perfect line. (Eventually, I'll get around to my manifesto where I explain why I've chosen freehand straight lines instead of using rulers. It's similar to why I can't stand vector "art"- vector art is like gradients, the only good way to use them is if you can't tell you've used them. Otherwise, you look kind of like a middle schooler who's using a computer to make art for the first time.)

It's funny though, because, of course, that's an opinion that was formed from doing a lot of that stuff, vaguely not liking it, and eventually pinpointing the reasons of not liking it. So everything all my drawings up to a certain point in time are examples of me doing the stuff that I've decided not to do.
I didn't want those perfect lines that I've decided I don't like, so I printed all the text and pasted it all onto the board so that I get all those small artifacts and imperfections that you can't get otherwise. For example-
The "F" is a good example of what I'm talking about. I think a lot of people that have worked in graphic design for a while decades are enamored glamoured with the ability to make absolutely perfect type, mainly because that was the goal when they were doing this all by hand, without computers. The same goes for vector art. Before Illlustrator made that style far too easy and possible for any pea brain, the concept, definition, and word(s) term 'vector art' didn't exist and the style was a technical skill that you had to study and be taught. (What I'm talking about.)

This is Old School, with a capital "o". That copy and paste method was used since the beginning of comics and was a staple until about the mid-90's Image computer craze. I think that that was essentially the same thing as the designers with type, it became easy and no one's questioned it since.

A thought about where all this stuff comes from- Comic books and news paper comics are brethren. They're directly related and I love them both equally. Old stuff like this comes from both. I don't discriminate where I learn from.

Keep what you like, drop what you don't.

Cover

The cover's finished (for a while, actually) and I took photos along the way. I'll put 'em up as I get closer to a general update of where I stand. 

Drawing Table Tuesday


This is the first spread (two pages, one image) in the book. I was unsure which way to do this one, or really, any of them. There are five or six really different ways to approach spreads.

This one's one page. The second (that's already finished sans inking) one's two pages butted together. And that's probably how the rest in the book are gonna be. I originally planned a safer approach by putting a gutter going up the middle, but decided against it when I got around to drawing it.

Print-wise, this is a little iffy. The printing's gonna have to be pretty good, because if not, the pages won't match up at all. But, I've accepted that pretty much any printer I'm going to be able to afford, won't be able to print well enough to match. (stuff like that adds character, anyway)

Also, I was unsure of those pages above until it was finished and scanned with all the black. It's about as close as I can get to what I was going for without color. There isn't much in the book that would be better in color; this spread and all the blood through the entire book. It's not worth paying for spot color, and it might end up being distracting anyway.


Supplies

I like It's very convenient that I know exactly what I like to use. Whenever my wife puts in an art store order, I know pretty much exactly what I'm going to tack on. Not to say I don't like to experiment with different things, but I really like using these same things (when I do real drawing); the more I use exactly these things, the better I'm getting with them.

I like always having a surplus box or stack of things. It's more than beneficial to have the option, if something's giving you problems, to just toss it and grab a new one from the box in the corner.

And for whatever reason, I feel the need to point out, that those aren't inking pens, those are bordering pens. I like a thicker line for the borders, and when I put in the last order for stuff, I didn't remember to order any. I go through those much slower.

Well, I guess they're not really extra, but just waiting to be used.

These are the things that arrived the other day, before I put them in the closet. (It's less of a hassle to take photos now, so I'm taking them more often.)

Poster

I'm not sure if this is really a normal kitchen poster, but this was in our kitchen(s) for a while, so I always get a kitchen feel from it now.

Drawing Table Tuesday


More in-depth update soonish.


Drawing Table Tuesday

I actually took this picture a while ago, before I threw it in the pile of drawn pages. It's significant, only because it was the last page in the book that (...I think.) takes place entirely in a car. That happens a lot, not the car part, but immediately throwing drawn pages onto the inking pile when I'm done with them. So, I'm making more of an effort to snap quick pictures when I feel like it.

(Unintentionally nice transition to...) Which is where this came from. I use tracing paper a lot, or I should say, a lot of tracing paper. I usually scan a lot of pages at a time, so I usually have a stack somewhere, and if they're not flat under something, they tend to curl up. The other day I realized that under the cutting mat on the light box was the perfect place to keep them before they're scanned, but it didn't occur to me until today to switch it on and see what they look like (gobbledygook, mostly). That's 3 or 4 pages' worth of tracing paper (specifically, probably 12 or so sheets.)

I plan on making more of an official update when I finish these next couple pages and the faux cover. Probably about scheduling and process. What I'm thinking thus far, mostly.